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BDSM Checklist: What's the Point?

By CAGE Staff​(staff)     July 25, 2022

Once you dip your toes into the online kink community, it won't be very long until you see mention of a "BDSM Checklist". A BDSM Checklist, much like the one found here on THE CAGE, is a long list of kink activities - and the respondent marks "Into", "Curious", "Willing to Try", "Prefer Not", or "Absolutely Not" to their desire to engage in each one of the activities.

You might have already seen its informal version, too: a fetish list. A list of a person's individual kinks and interests, a fetish list gives everyone else an idea of what this person is into - though it isn't usually as comprehensive as a BDSM Checklist. (For example, most fetish lists do not include the things the person is NOT into.)

But what's the point of a BDSM Checklist? Why do we even care about them in the first place - and is it REALLY worth all of that time to fill it out? (Though, let's be honest: you've totally spent hours on pointless online personality quizzes in the past, and a BDSM Checklist is way more useful!). Here are some of the reasons I really recommend filling out - and regularly using - your BDSM Checklist.

Easy "To-Try" List

Are you brand new to the world of kink? If so, you might feel a bit overwhelmed by all of the options out there. When you're outside of the kinkosphere, you might think most kink activities start and end at bondage and spanking - but once you jump in, you're going to find out there's a whole lot more than you ever imagined was possible!

This can be amazing - but it can also be overwhelming.

This is one of the big benefits of a BDSM Checklist though. It's, quite literally, a checklist full of kinks and fetishes. Go through the entire list, look up anything you don't know, and figure out if it's something you might be interested in trying.

If it is, next time you're feel adventurous, you have an entire list of kinks and activities available to explore.

You wouldn't be the first person to find that their newfound, most-intense kink came from an unsuspecting BDSM Checklist that led you deep into something you found surprisingly hot!

Encourage Self-Exploration

Let's go beyond the simple "to-try" list - and use a BDSM Checklist as a jumping board for self-reflection and exploration.

A BDSM Checklist is a tool, and if you want to use it to purely record what your kneejerk reactions to sexy activities are, have at it! If that's the way that your BDSM Checklist works for you, that's a-okay!

You might find, however, that a BDSM Checklist can be the inspiration you need for self-reflection. Why are you turned on by this particular fetish? You instantly marked "no" to this particular fetish - why is that? Is it because of a bias you didn't realize? A concern for safety? If it's a safety concern, is the fetish actually dangerous - or are you uninformed about the risk profile of this activity?

There's a whole lot to learn about kinky sex - and how your brain processes, perceives, and enjoys it - so if you're someone who enjoys self-reflection, a BDSM Checklist is a fantastic way to facilitate that. It gives you a list of kinks to think over while reflecting on why you do/don't like the things you do. It also gives you a jumping board for learning and educating yourself too - especially if you're unsure why someone would like something - or didn't even know that was a fetish to begin with!

Does Some of the "Sexy Talking" For You

If you're new to the world of kink, you might still be new to explicit, frank discussions about sexuality. Yes, they definitely happen outside of kink, but you might find yourself a bit overwhelmed by how comfortable kinky people are with discussing sex with complete strangers. It can feel like an alternative universe!

A BDSM Checklist can take some of the pressure of you during these conversations - and do some of the legwork for you as well. Instead of explicit, frank conversations about all of the kinks out there, you both can exchange BDSM Checklists - and let those Checklists do some of the talking for you.

Instead of needing to explicitly admit that you've been really wanting to try cuckolding, your BDSM Checklist can state you're into it - and your partner can broach the topic if they see it on your list and want to give it a try with you.

This can open up the lines of communication about fantasies and kink needs without needing to explicitly have the "Well, honey, there's something I've been wanting to try...." conversation.

Ensure a Thorough Negotiation

Let's say you and a new partner jump into a scene negotiation. You know you both like rope, so you both decide that you'll do a rope scene. You decide that no rope is allowed anywhere near the neck. You both also agree that touching underneath anything that's usually protected by underwear is off the table.

But mid-scene, when the bottom is all trussed up and deliciously bound, the scene slides to a halt. Neither of you really talked about anything else that could potentially be on the table. Would spanking be okay? Dirty talk? Humiliation? With no one wanting to accidentally go beyond the negotiated scene, you end up with a scene that may not be able to go as deeply as you both would have wanted - if only the negotiation ahead of time had been more thorough.

This is one big benefit of a BDSM Checklist. Even if the two of you don't want to go deep into a back-and-forth and check off every kink activity, A-to-Z, for your scene, you both can casually exchange BDSM Checklists. Once exchanged, if either the top or bottom sees something that piques their interest for the scene, you both can quickly agree to - or disagree to - the idea of having it happen during the scene.

Not only does this ensure nothing gets lost, but it also allows a wider range of activities while ensuring it stays within everyone's boundaries. It's a win-win!

It Offers an Open Field for Play

Sometimes, it can feel overwhelming for tops to play with new partners - regardless of how experienced that bottom is.

That's because tops don't accidentally want to overstep any boundaries or cause any unintended or unwanted harm - either physically or mentally.

This is why a BDSM Checklist can be an amazing tool. The top and the bottom can fill out an empty BDSM Checklist - just for their play session together. Instead of focusing on general interests and kinks, both partners should focus on the activities they'd be comfortable doing with this partner right now.

Now, when you both exchange checklists, you have a better idea of where your body and brain are at - and where your comfort level is at with one another.

The top has a list of interests from the bottom and can start flushing out the ideas for a scene with the security of knowing what the bottom is looking for. And the bottom has the ability to speak up and specifically include (or exclude) any items that stand out to them from the top's list.

Final Tip: Revisit Your Checklist

Now that you know why a BDSM Checklist is so useful, let me leave you with a final tip: revisit your BDSM Checklist semi-often.

You might choose to keep a "personal preferences" BDSM Checklist. This checklist is a private checklist of the activities you'd want to explore if all the stars aligned. Imagining yourself with the perfect partner that you're 100% comfortable with, what activities sound fun? What activities would you still want to pass on? While this BDSM Checklist version may not always be realistic to share with partners (because what we fantasize about may not always line up with what we're comfortable with for any given person), this checklist can give you a good springboard for what you want if everything was in the right place to make it happen.

Separate from that, you may keep a “for-partners” BDSM Checklist. This may be a BDSM Checklist that you do with the intention of sharing it with a specific partner. This checklist may focus on the exact activities you're comfortable with for that exact partner – at this exact point in time. It may even reflect any injuries or physical concerns you have – like if rope bondage is off the table because of a new tattoo.

No matter how you choose to use your BDSM Checklist, you should ensure that you regularly check back in with it. Your preferences, comfort levels, and interests will change just as surely as your interests in eating different foods does. Avoid accidental misunderstandings by ensuring your BDSM Checklist is fully up-to-date - and accurate - before sharing it or using it as a discussion point with anyone else.

Plus, it's worth revisiting your BDSM Checklist as you go, you'll be able to look back and reflect on your BDSM Checklist from years ago - and see how you've changed! It can be a fun way to revisit your journey into kink over the years.

Get started on your CAGE BDSM Checklist by visiting your profile and clicking on the BDSM Checklist button. There's no need to complete it all at once and you can edit it at anytime. You can share your checklist with friends or keep it just for yourself. Time to begin...


Mistress Kay lives in the world of sexuality and kink. With a house that's quickly running out of space for things that aren't sex books and sex toys, she spends what free time she has writing femdom help articles (http://kinky-world.net/category/bdsm-advice/femdom-advice/), trying the latest and greatest in sex toys, and exploring the sexual universe with her partners. She can be reached at Kinky World (http://kinky-world.net/).

G_Rod43​(dom male){will colla}
Great article ! A lot of excellent information regarding the BDSM checklist ! Thanks
Jul 26, 2022, 2:36 AM
BlackMass
Geat info
Jul 26, 2022, 7:35 AM
LoneWolf​(masochist gender queer)
It's a good checklist however, I can't help but notice how short it is... I have a few suggestions to add to that list.
Aug 4, 2022, 12:52 PM
Villanelle​(staff)
Thank you for the comments! FYI, in the interest of time we've limited the list to approximately 100 terms. We hope this list is launching point for further discussion and contemplation.
Aug 5, 2022, 10:30 AM